UK Giving More Visas to Indians: Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson

Almost 500,000 Indians were given visas this year until June, Boris Johnson said.


More Indian students are going to the United Kingdom now, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said in a recent interview, countering data suggesting that only 19,000 Indian students went to the country in 2016 as opposed to 40,000 in 2010.

Johnson added that at least 10 per cent more Indian students have gained visas, according to their latest data. Almost 500,000 visas were given to Indians this year until June 2017, which is an eight per cent increase since 2016, he told the Times of India. He attributes the increase in Indians visiting the United Kingdom to “an excellent visa service in India”.

Johnson has been at loggerheads with Prime Minister Theresa May over including foreign students in the net immigration data. According to exit checks data, while 100,000 foreign students were estimated to have stayed back after the expiry of their visas, only 4,600 of them were found to do so. He argued that including students in the immigration data will adversely affect them from coming to the country for education, which is a robust part of the economy.

Johnson said that India is only second to China in gaining visas to the United Kingdom. Almost 90 per cent of those who apply for the visa get it, he said, adding that Indians get more work visas than citizens of any other country. As many as 60,000 work visas, mostly Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfers, were given to Indian workers last year.

“Britain and India are the world’s oldest and largest democracies. We cherish the same values and we work together to make the world a better place. One of the reasons why I argued in favor of leaving the EU was that I wanted a Global Britain to strengthen our friendships with countries beyond Europe, particularly India,” he told the publication about his views on a post-Brexit relationship between the two countries.

Johnson is married to Marine Wheeler, who is of half English and half Indian Sikh descent. She is the daughter of BBC correspondent Sir Charles Wheeler and his Indian wife Dip Singh. Dip Singh’s family migrated to India from Sargodha in West Punjab, which is now in Pakistan, after Partition in 1947.

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